Sister Maureen made her mark in education and nonviolence initiatives

Sister Clare Maureen Connolly covered a lot of ground during her 45 years as a School Sister of St. Francis.

She taught elementary and high school students, led parish religious education programs, developed nonviolence initiatives, and organized activities for the Black Catholic Scholarship Program.

Sister Maureen, 83, died April 15 at New Cassel Retirement Center in Omaha.

She donated her body to science, and a memorial Mass will be held later at New Cassel.

Sister Maureen was born in County Leitrim, Ireland, and moved with her family to West Virginia in 1948.

She entered the Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus in 1955 and taught elementary and high school students.

Sister Maureen moved to Omaha in 1970, earning degrees in religious education and pastoral ministry at Creighton University. She transferred to the School Sisters of St. Francis of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1975.

Her service in the Archdiocese of Omaha took her to Bloomfield, Creighton, Norfolk, Randolph and Snyder, where she directed parish religious education programs. She also taught theology at the former Archbishop Ryan High School in Omaha.

Also in Omaha, Sister Maureen led the board of directors at the Siena Francis House homeless shelter, helped establish a religious program for youths at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, and in 1992 became program director at New Covenant Justice and Peace Center, where she developed nonviolence programs for people of all ages.

Sister Maureen worked for the Black Catholic Scholarship Program and from 2005 to 2017 was a facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project at the Omaha Correctional Center. From 2009 until her death she was coordinator of the project.

The City of Omaha recognized Sister Maureen in 2007 with its Living the Dream Award, honoring the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

She was preceded in death by her parents, James and Kathleen Connolly, and sisters Kathleen Fisher and Lana Treadwell.

Survivors include her sister Maureen (Terry) Ladd; brothers John (Karen) Connolly and Jim Connelly; many nieces, nephews and cousins; and the School Sisters of St. Francis community.

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